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Redskins vs. Bengals Prediction

Redskins vs. Bengals Prediction

I'm not sure that the Washington Redskins can win the three games in a row necessary to give them a shot at securing a spot in the NFC postseason party.

I am very confident that they can win on game in a row in Cincinnati this Sunday.

The Redskins have been very good at taking care of business against the dregs of the league. The lone banana peel they've hit was in October against the Rams. Other than that, they have thumped the NFL's Little Sisters of the Poor.

And, make no mistake, the Bengals are bottom feeders. They are last in total offense and 24th in total defense. The Bengals' 1-11-1 record isn't all aces.

Their best player, quarterback Carson Palmer, has an elbow injury and has been on the sideline most of the season. In a move that only the Bengals organization would make, they have not put Palmer on injured reserve. Sunday's game will be the ninth straight that Palmer has missed and team was eliminated from the playoff picture before Columbus Day. Rather than pull the plug and put a player on the team that could, you know, help them, the Bengals let him languish. I truly that the thought of paying a player the millions that Palmer makes and not have him available for so much as the coin toss is abhorrent to the Bengals' basic way of doing business.

The coach of any other team that has steadily descended from a playoff appearance in 2005 to the mess that they are today would be on a seat so hot it could bring a giant pot of Cincinnati chili to a boil in a hurry. But Marvin Lewis' job is secure only because Mike Brown and company are too cheap to pay the balance of Lewis' contract, which has two years left on it.

OK, enough of beating up on the Bengals. Their own fans do enough of that. And the Redskins have their own problems, to be sure.

On top of that, Cincinnati has played the NFC East tough this year. They took the Giants to overtime before losing in the Meadowlands, were competitive in Dallas all the way and, yes Donovan, they tied the Eagles.

That and the fact that the Redskins have managed to keep all of their wins competitive into the very late going leads to the conclusion that they will do just enough to post the "W". With 40% their offensive line consisting of players who have either been totally inactive (RT Jason Fabini) or mostly in a reserve role (LT Stephon Heyer) this year the Redskins will grind it out with Clinton Portis on offense. Look for the Mouth That Roared to rumble for a buck-forty.

The Skins' one chance to turn this into a rout is to pick off a few of Ryan Fitzpatrick's passes. In the shocking stat of the day department, the Redskins are tied for 12th in the NFL with 12 interceptions. If they can get a few of those deep in Cincy territory. . .

But that's unlikely. More than likely it will be a lot of three and outs for the Bengals, they'll punt and the Redskins will have to embark on long, sustained scoring drives to put points on the board. Some will make the end zone, most won't. At this point in the season, you are what you are.

Redskins 20, Bengals 10

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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USA Today Sports/AP Images

Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.

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